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These days, more and more fabric printing companies are becoming available in the market. Since there is a lot of competition, using the best fabric to print on is a must. Fabric printing companies that are searching for fabrics to print on will benefit by reading this article. Here at Spandex Warehouse, we will be sharing what you need to know about fabric printing. If you think this article is for you, make sure to keep scrolling below to find out more information.

What is fabric printing?

Fabric printing is the procedure of printing designs on a fabric or applying color to a fabric. This application aims to permanently change the color of the fabric while being resistant to frequent washes and friction. The printing process may include printing repetitive patterns into the fabric or printing a single image or design which is commonly done on the front side of t-shirts.

Broadening your knowledge about fabric printing is important as it will help you if you want to start a fabric printing business. You can print on clothing items or you can print some designs for your company. Fabric printing is a broad topic that covers the transfer of colored designs on fabric.

How to print on fabrics?

Can you print on different fabrics? There are plenty of methods for printing on fabric. Oftentimes, they have varying finishes, levels of quality, and prices. So if you want to start a fabric printing business, you must first decide or choose the best type of printing that you prefer.

If you are planning to choose printing methods of fabric, you have to consider different factors that may affect it. When fabric printing you have to consider the fabric that you will use, the quantity of fabric to print on, the finish quality that you need, and the degree or level of details on the design.

In this article, we will discuss the five printing methods that you can choose from. Block printing, DTG or direct to garment, heat transfer, screen printing, and sublimation printing.

  1. Block print – This printing method is the oldest compared to the rest included on the list. It is originated around the 5th century BC in the Far East. It uses wooden blocks with hand-carved designs. The block will be covered with ink and be pressed onto the chosen fabric. The design will be fixed on the fabric by using a chemical. It is a method used by artisans and skilled craftsmen. This method may not be the one that you will choose for your business unless you are looking for a design with a crafted and organic finish. It is a unique printing method as it produces a print finish that is not often achieved by machines and modern techniques practiced by fabric printing companies.
  2. Direct to garment – DTG or direct to garment is the process that uses a design and prints it directly on the fabric by using a specialized inkjet printer and water-based inks. The fabric will require a pre-treatment to make sure that the printed design will be absorbed better and faster. Then the next step will be for the fabric to go through equipment that exerts steam and heat to ensure that the design will stick to the garment when it is washed and dried to remove any excess chemicals.

This printing method is highly recommended for designs that are complex – which means it has different colors and complex details. For example, if you want to print a photo in the front part of the shirt, DTG is the best choice for you. You can use light fabrics that are made from 100% cotton so you can have the best results when using DTG.

It is the best choice if you need to print a smaller number of shirts as it is the cheapest on the list. It has helped improve the marketing and promotional methods of companies because aside from its cost-effective means, it can also be used to personalize the products and will last longer than its counterparts in the market.

  1. Heat transfer – The heat transfer printing process is done by printing the design on a special paper and then transferring it to the chosen fabric using equipment with heat such as a heat press. It is often used to print company logos and brand labels into the fabric because the finish is clean and crisp. It can be used to print designs for sportswear and swimwear. It works best for synthetic fabrics but it can be expensive and a slow process. It is recommended for specialized fabric printing.
  2. Screen printing – The two types of screen printing are flatbed and rotary. Flatbed screen printing can be fully or partially automated or a manual process although it is a slow process. Flatbed screen printing uses a squeegee to transfer the ink paste through a screen with engraving. While, rotary screen printing, is also known as cylinder printing and it uses the ink paste and forces it by using pressure. Screen printing is a tedious process as you can only use and apply one color at a time. So most of the time, the designs used for this type of printing usually involve simpler designs compared to the DTG and sublimation printing methods.

Screen printing is commonly recommended for making huge quantity orders. The finish is consistent with other printing methods. It is done for simple and easy designs with solid colors. If you need to print a huge quantity of fabric then you must go for screen printing. Although the initial set-up may be a bit high if you will print a lot of shirts then the setup costs will be easily covered by the number of items that you will produce. The more colors are required, the more expensive the costs will be because the fabric is required to pass through the machines a lot of times.

  1. Sublimation printing – Sublimation printing is also known as the digital printing technique. In this printing method, the design is printed on specialized paper and then it will be transferred on the fabric using heat through a heat press. Sublimation printing allows you to utilize different colors and unique designs, unlike screen printing. It works great with synthetic fabrics. It is more expensive than DTG and it is not advised for natural fabrics such as cotton. It is recommended for polyester fabrics which may cost less than other fabrics.

What are the tips to consider for businesses that require fabric printing?
Select the right dye or ink for the right fabric – There are different types of dye: acid dye, disperse dye, reactive dye, and pigments. Acid dye works great on nylon, silk, and wool. Disperse dye is perfect for polyester fabrics. The pigments work for different fabrics but cost more than the others. The commonly used dye is the reactive dye; it is used for fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon, silk, and wool.

If you will choose reactive dye digital printing, it is the most flexible technology for fabric printing. It produces a high-quality finish on silk and plant-based fabrics. If you will be printing on fabrics like polyester you must go for sublimation. If you will print white dye onto dark materials, you must go for pigment printing but keep in mind it will cost more than the other printing methods.

You must also know the chemical treatments that will be required to make your fabric wash and rub resistant. After fabric printing, the fabric must be washed and dried properly to ensure that the excess chemicals are removed when you receive the items.

Choose the finish that you prefer – You must be clear with what you want for your fabric printing. You must choose the color and the fabrics as well. You can choose different colors in digital fabric printing. When choosing fabric for printing, you must choose the right one that will suit its purpose. If you want to print a scarf you can select silk, if it is a curtain you can go for heavy linen, if you prefer the sublimation printing method, you can use polyester or polyester blends. You can be practical and be wise with your choices especially if you want cost-effective materials. You must also consider the quality of the finish that you want.

Prepare the design – You must prepare the design that you want to be printed for your fabric. You must use the best file standard so you can have the best design for your shirt. The image or design must have the correct scale and orientation. You must provide a file format in RGB. It is best to provide a file with 300 DPI in formats like EPS, PDF, PSD, or Tiff. The better the resolution the better will be the resulting print on the fabric but it will take a longer time to print them.

Ask for a sample print – If you require multiple fabric printing, you can ask for a sample of your design first. This way you can check the design quality, color, dye, layout, pattern, etc.

If you need fabric for printing, heat transfer printing, or sublimation printing, make sure to choose Spandex Warehouse. You can check out this link for fabric for printing. You can also request a quote for any fabric that you need. If you want to purchase fabric from us you can click this link for the purchase order form. Please send inquiries or messages through the contact form.

Are you looking for a company offering wholesale fabric supplies like fabric for printing? If your answer is yes, you came to the right place. Here at Spandex Warehouse, we are offering wholesale fabric supplies and we have been serving our clients and working in the industry for more than 15 years. If you are looking for something specific such as fabric for printing, fabric for sublimation, or anything else please contact us. We can help you find what you need. Call us at 213.629.7416, send a fax at 213.629.7433 or send an email at [email protected]. Our showroom is strictly available thru appointment only. It is located at 776 Gladys Ave, Los Angeles, California 90021. Contact us for all your wholesale fabric supplies needs.